25 Apr 2006

Bougainville only committed to repaying huge grant if mining starts up again

4:30 am on 25 April 2006

The President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government in Papua New Guinea says a Canadian mining company has taken a gamble in granting it six point seven million US dollars.

Joseph Kabui says his government is very grateful to have access to such money which will allow it to develop infracture.

He says it may also be used to aid the reconciliation process and to assist the rehabilitation of former combatants.

Mr Kabui says the money will only be repaid if the province decides, in a referendum,

that it will allow mining to resume.

"That is the gamble that they are taking, so if in the plebiscite the people of Bougainville decide against mining, then that is the gamble, that is the price that they uinfortunately would have to pay."